Sunday, December 30, 2012

Adventures in Girl Scouting

I want to start off by explaining that I was never a girl scout.  I wanted to be, but I wasn't.  Now, if you ask my mom, she'll say she did put me into Brownies, and I didn't like it, so that was that.  I have no recollection of this at all.  I do remember my sister being a Girl Scout, and my brother being a Boy Scout.  So I guess they wouldn't have any real reason for me not to have attended a meeting or two.  It's not like my parents were against the institution or anything, but again, I have no memory of any girl scout experiences.  And it seems like it might have been something I would have remembered, doesn't it?  At any rate, Bunny is very nicely allowing me to live vicariously through her by being in Girl Scouts herself.  Isn't she sweet?  And the Girl Scouts (not her troop specifically but the group as a whole) invited girls to go on down to the Rose Bowl to talk with some Rose Parade experts, see some floats up close and personal, and design one of their own.

So last Friday, I bundled up Bunny and together with two other girls in her troop and their Moms we all met up at the Rose Bowl for a Rose Parade Girl Scout Adventure.  We got into the last of two Girl Scout events taking place that night.  And for as late as it was (7:30-9pm) the place was pretty packed with Girl Scouts and their parents. And even though we were in tents, all the kids were bundled up tight.  It's cold out there people!

This year's Rose Parade Theme is "Oh The Places You'll Go"

And the girls got to listen to several former girl scouts who have not only walked in the parade but are still involved with the event talk about volunteering to help, earning their Gold award so they could be part of the Tournament of Roses Troop and one of the former Girl Scouts was even a Rose Princess.  If that's not enough to get a bunch of girls excited about the parade, I don't know what is.

They got to listen as Nicki Miller and John Ramirez from Artistic Entertainment Services explained how they take a float from design to completion and even got to see a short video about how it all comes together.  Their example was Jack In The Box's Samba Carnival float (design pictured above).  Then several of the girls got a chance to ask questions about floats, the parade, volunteers and participation.  All in all, I say it was very well done.  Then they broke the girls up into two different groups so go on a Scavenger Hunt and design their own floats.  Meanwhile, the parents were shuffled off to go on a tour of their own.

We got to have a close-up look at some of the VIP cars that will be used in the parade.  Many of which are still being decorated for the big day.

We also learned that Jane Goodall is going to be the Parade's Grand Marshall of this year's parade.  The renowned chimpanzee researcher and environmentalist - yes, that Jane Goodall.  And they're decorating a carriage up perfectly just for her with a few chimps! 

In another tent we got to see lots of volunteers hard at work putting contact cement on the backs of flower heads.

And watch as they put the flowers onto various aspects of the floats.

It's not all flowers of course, some of the coverings are seeds as seen in this beautiful butterfly.

And while they weren't attached yet, one of the floats is adding Cherries!

We also got to see the blenders grinding up all the seeds.

And then? Then I saw it.  My heart skipped a beat and happiness was mine, as this incredible John Deer float came into view.  This better win a prize!

We got back to the girls just in time for them two wrap the whole event up with one giant Friendship Circle where a hand squeeze is passed from one girl to the next until the circle is complete and they sing the Friendship song.  All in all, a pretty amazing night for girls and parents alike!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pre-Christmas Craziness

This holiday season for us, has been a mad house.  We packed so much into the week leading up to Christmas I didn't think we'd get it all in!  So in the spirit of Monday Night Football (which has nothing to do with nothing) here are the highlights!

Bug and Bunny taking their yellow belt test..  We won't find out until January if they passed.  I think the parents are more worried about this than the kids are!

We took a trip down to San Diego to visit with our friends Tamlin and Joanne and were surprised with the bonus of Tamlin's son (who I need to find a fun nickname for).

We met him about 5 years at Tamlin and Joanne's wedding, but honestly, I didn't remember anything about him.  Now that I've re-met him I can declare him good people - if in desperate need of some geeky education.  We introduced him to Eddie Izzard - specifically the Star Wars Canteen..

We watched the latest Star Trek movie - which he'd never seen and while we mentioned Firefly, we're really going to have to sit him down for a day and force him to watch all the episodes.  You can watch below some of their highlights!  I have faith we'll bring him to the dark side.. we have cookies after all.

We also went sailing.  Technically we were supposed to be whale watching, but we didn't see any.  We did see some dolphins which was fun.  And we saw this lovely little guy sun bathing.

The Tweedles got to play "I'm King of the World" under the careful supervision of "Uncle" Tamlin.

And we wrapped up the weekend at a BBQ joint where Bunny and The Hubs played a rousing game of patty cake.

We went to the Christmas Eve Children's service at our church whose halls I must say were decked.

Bunny sang in the service while they told a very humorous version of the Birth of Jesus.

And it all culminated to walking into our living room 6:45 am Christmas morning to my Tweedles cuddled together in The Hubs recliner watching cartoons waiting for the rest of us to get up.

All in all, it has been a very Merry Christmas.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Spirit Moo-ving On Up

I think having all of the Christmas presents (but 2 and the "Santa Gift") purchased including all of my stocking stuffers and having the Christmas lights up and some of our interior decorations going has helped lift my holiday spirits.  The Christmas music is now playing again in my car and my Pandora and quite frankly, I'm starting to look forward to the Holiday.

So much so, that I wanted to introduce you to some little friends of mine.  Now, it's no secret that I love cows.  Having been raised every summer on a farm full of them, it's hard to imagine not loving cows. I  mean, how doesn't love a little cow tongue? (That's LW - not me).

A few years ago The Hubs and LW/GG got me these really awesome holiday cows.

They're from Mary's Moo Moos Collection.

And they have to be the cutest things I've ever seen.

Turns out there's a ton of these little cows and not just for Christmas either!  I'd love to get enough of these to have my own little Mary's Moo Moos Holiday village, and then I'll start in on the other holidays.

Does this make me sound a tiny bit crazy?

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

All You Can Do Is Love Them

Yesterday, when the news first announced the terrible tragedy unfolding in Connecticut, I am not ashamed to admit, I cried.

I cried for the fear and uncertainty the kids and teachers at the school must have suffered.

I cried for the first responders whose duty to secure the building came first over the emotions they must have felt seeing the devastation at a school their kids likely attended.

I cried for the heart wrenching terror of the parents who had to sit and wait.

I cried for the parents who's children came out that day.

And I cried for the parents and families who's children didn't.

I cried for my son, who is the same age as many of the 20 children who didn't come home -  knowing how easily it could have been him.

I cried when the president spoke and was moved not only by his own reactions and obvious heartbreak, but also by his words.. "Their children are our children."

And then?  I prayed.  I prayed for all the families, the community, the first responders and the souls of the lost.  And when my kids came home, I hugged them.  ALL of them.  LW and GG came home first and I cried with them, and told them they couldn't ever leave the house again.  And they smiled and were indulgent even though we all knew that wasn't possible.  And then Bug and Bunny came home and I hugged them, and told them I loved them and snuggled with them.

 I send my kids to good schools.  But so did those parents.  I teach them about safety tips and who to trust and who to go to if they need help and I'm sure those kids were taught the same.  My school has safety protocols and so did that school.   The harsh and cruel reality is, those parents, that school, the community did everything right, and it still wasn't enough.  I think that's the part I'm having the most trouble with.  This is a crazy mixed up world we live in people.  And no matter how hard you try, you can't protect your children from everything.

All I can say is the best thing you can do is love your kids.  Tell them every day even if you think they know it.  Even when they're older and it embarrasses them.  Tell them, show them, make them feel every day how much they mean to you.  Because even when you do everything right, bad things can happen.  And the only consolation you can feel is knowing that your friends, family, children knew they were loved every second of every minute of their life.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Friday, December 14, 2012

If Wishes Were Fishes

If wishes ..

were fishes..

the sea..

would be full..

and we'd be headed to the farm for Christmas...

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Concerts - Bunny

School Holiday Concerts hold a special place in a parent's heart.  The kids get to dress up.  They get to go up on stage before an adoring audience.  They get to wave.

Then they get to sing in front of an audience who loves them even if they're off key, even if they don't know the words, even if they can't seem to smile and sing at the same time.  The kids know it.  In this moment if not any other, they are assured of our complete admiring attention.  And. They. SHINE.    Because frankly, these kids are loved.

And isn't that what the holiday spirit is all about?  Love.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blue Christmas

Usually, the holidays are my favorite time of year.  I love the smells of turkey and goodies baking in the oven, of peppermint hot cocoa and pine.  I love decorating the house with all of our Christmas stuff and seeing the twinkling lights start to appear in everyone's yards.  I love love love Christmas music as you saw in my last post.  I usually can't seem to get enough of it.  And the presents!  Oh my the presents.  I usually have all of my shopping out of the way months in advance for two reasons.  One, I love Christmas so much, I like to try to integrate it all year round, and two because with three birthdays and Christmas all happening within a month of each other, I find it more cost effective.

But this year, something is off.  I'm not even sure what it is.  I still haven't finished making all of my Christmas purchases (not to mention stocking stuffers which I haven't even started yet!).  I bought the main dish for Christmas dinner, but I'm not excited to make it and we've done zero holiday baking unless you count the Chocolate Chip cookies GG made for the Tweedles to eat after singing to the Seniors as part of a church event.  I have nothing wrapped.  I have nothing ready.  The only decoration we have out is our 6' santa and honestly, where would we put him?  And I've stopped listening to my holiday music - completely.

It just doesn't feel like Christmas.  I think part of it might be that we have all just been so busy.  Between work, school, and events, there hasn't been a whole lot of down time for any of us.  The Hubs just wrapped up finals last week and is still working his day job.  LW wraps up her finals this week and GG wraps up hers the following week.  The Tweedles have holiday presentations starting Wednesday (which I'm still not sure I'll be able to attend!) as well as Brownie events, increased Church events and testing to see if they can get their yellow belts in karate class all before the holiday.  And me?  I've been working pretty much all the time between my day job and contract work. The money is great and is helping us afford all the extra expenses, but it's tending to dampen the mood.

So, here's my question for you my friendly readers, what gets you into the holiday spirit?  What is it about the holidays that gets your heart pumping, gives you that holiday glow and makes you want to embrace the season?

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things

One of my very favorite things about the holidays is the music.  I could, and do, listen to Holiday music all year round.  Annoying to most, but some special few get me when it comes to this and can't help but smile when a song about Old Saint Nick comes blaring out of my speakers in July.

I have several all-time favorite holiday songs.

In 1977 Bing Crosby was readying to make his 42nd Annual Christmas Special.  In his 70s, he asked for someone young to help draw in the younger crowd and David Bowie was suggested.  David Bowie a big Bing fan agreed to appear in the special and in September of '77 they met to film singing a Little Drummer Boy duet.  After the first run through, David - yeah, I call him David because we're close like that - didn't like how his voice sounded so the producers created a second melody Peace on Earth.  They spent only an hour rehearsing before shooting the show and nailed it in only three takes.  A month later Bing had a heart attack and died after winning a game of golf.  A month after that they aired his final holiday special in his honor.  This has always been one of my all time favorite tunes - holiday and otherwise.

The first time I heard Trans Siberian Orchestra's Christmas take on Pachebel's Canon, it gave me chills.  Taking one of my classical favorites and turning it into a holiday song was brilliant!  And every time it comes on I make sure all of my family knows how much I absolutely love it.  What really makes this song for me are the children's voices.  So sweet and pure and innocent - all the very best things about the holidays.

Last Sunday, The Tweedles sang for the very first time together at our church at the evening service for the lighting of the first Advent candle.  This is Bunny's third year in the children's choir and Bug's first.  In fact, this was Bug's very first time standing in front of the whole congregation and singing ever.

How adorable are these two in their choir robes?  Pretty cute no?

This was actually a blend of three of the children's choirs at our church.  Separated by age, Bug is part of the youngest group (kinder and first graders), Bunny is part of the second group (second and third graders) and the last group seen here at the top levels were the fourth and fifth graders.

And all of these kids sang their little hearts out.

Bug is hard to see from this view, he's at the bottom behind our choir director

I think I have a new holiday favorite.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Winding Down and Gearing Up

Well, NaNoWriMo is over and I did complete my 50,000 words.  Is it the world's greatest American novel? Yeah, probably not, but I am glad I stuck to it and finished.  I learned so much about myself, about writing, about why they call it a "process".  I even celebrated into the wee hours of the morning on the 30th with friends who'd also taken up the challenge.  Something about all of us coming together and sharing our frustrations and our triumphs just made the whole experience even more amazing.

Here's the thing about NaNo that I think everyone should take away.  The whole point of this is one great big writing exercise.  It's to get people to commit to writing every day and to get them into the habit of it.  Because, and I know this will sound obvious, writers - write.  I know many of my friends and family have toyed with the idea of being a writer.  I think many of us do as we're going through school and maybe even college.  I know for a while I played with the idea of being an English major with hopes of going into publishing, before my interests turned elsewhere. But they don't write, which goes against the whole idea.  I always considered myself a wanna-be writer. Not a real writer.  But the reality is, I already was writing almost every day, here with this blog.  And maybe nothing I write will ever be published or on the NY Best Sellers list, but I am a writer.  I am a writer because I write.  I think that's the most exciting thing I've learned from all of this.  And I think I'll add it to my list of personal accomplishments.  I am a writer. It will go somewhere under Mother and near Artist.

A lot of my friends who took up this challenge with me, absolutely hate their story.  Hate it.  And that's okay, because after all, this was just a writing exercise.  Now that they got all that rubbish out of the way, they can move onto their next idea, a better idea and just the mere fact of putting 50,000 words to paper has helped them grow as writers and the next piece will be so much better for it.

I on the other hand, love the basic underlying story of my book.  I think it's a good story.  It needs a lot of work, but I'm still happy with most of my characters, happy with how the story came to life, and happy with where it went.  I started this challenge with a vague scene ending, no idea even the name of my main character and certainly no knowledge of what events led up to the ending, so this was a real journey for me and for them.  It was enlightening and frustrating to want my characters to move in one direction only to have them seem to have a mind of their own, taking my story in directions I never anticipated. This process is something I've always mistaken for proof I wasn't a writer.  If I couldn't even get my own darn characters to do what I wanted, what was the point?  But I found through this challenge, that most writers experience this, and it's a joyous thing when your characters take on a life of their own.   And boy did mine ever.  I know of at least one or two characters that never made that leap, and that's something I'll work on.

I've had several people ask when they get to read it, or what do I do with it now.  My plan for right now is to ignore it until after January 1st.  There's a whole lot of holiday to get through first.  However, I think I will go back to it.  There are lots of parts of the book that I love, but so many more parts that I cringe to even think about.  I'll work on those parts, tighten the story up and maybe, just maybe, if I get up enough courage, I'll see if my story will interest a literary agent.  I'm not holding my breath, but I think it's important to follow this as far as it will go.  Who knows what might happen right?

Until then, I took the last 3 days to catch up on some contract work I'd been pushing, and some extra work at my day job that really needed to get done.  We celebrated Bug, Bunny and GG's birthdays and with those finally out of the way, we're ready to focus our attention fully and completely on Christmas.  It seems like this year has just flown by, so I want to see if I can slow things down and really enjoy the holidays this year with my family.

I'm switching gears back to writing here every day.  It's quite a switch from making up your own stories to telling the one of your life.  So far this post alone is a little rough, but I'm sure in a few days, things will get back to normal.  So, start checking back in folks, I promise to get back to attempting to entertaining you with my gibberish.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Grown-up Weekends and Santa

We had our good friends Tamlin and Joanne up over the weekend which meant a few things.

1. I didn't get any writing on my NaNoWriMo novel.  Not a single word, which was slightly disappointing and would have made me sad except for points 2 and 3.  The good news here is that I've just broken 40,000 words and should actually meet my 50,000 word goal before the end of the month! Yay!

2. We got to spend the weekend hanging out with two of our favorite people, laughing and talking and generally having fun.

3. We left the house.  I know this might be shocking to some of you, but we actually physically left our home and went into old town.  We had a late lunch at a really great french place.  I had hot chocolate where they brought me a steaming cup of milk and the tiniest pitcher you've ever seen filled with warm, delicious belgian chocolate that I got to pour in myself!  Then after some window shopping we ended up at a bar/restaraunt that brews it's own beer and had menu items like Venison Tartar and Truffle Mac & Cheese and more kinds of beer than either Tamlin or The Hubs could get through even if we stayed all night, which regretfully we didn't.

4. I got very little contract or overtime work done while they were here, so I ended up working late last night to try to catch up, making  me very tired this morning.

5. No laundry was accomplished this weekend and now I have piles of it waiting for me.

I love it when they come up or conversely when we go down to visit them sans kids, because it allows us to just be us for a while.  Not mom and dad, not employees and in The Hub's case, not a student, but a real live honest to goodness couple who ya know, hang out and talk with other grown-ups.  It also reminds me that I don't always have to go 90 miles an hour or get EVERYTHING done.  There are more important things than laundry people.  I know you don't believe me, but it's true.

While their visits are always awesome and rejuvenating, this one had a twist that I just can't help but comment on.  We took a mini field trip to a hardware store to find a dryer vent cleaner (to help my eventual laundry pursuits) when we came across this guy.

He's almost 6 feet tall and the minute we saw him, we all wanted him.  I made the observation that he would be the perfect alternative to a Christmas Tree.  Just put your tree skirt down and pile all of the gifts at his feet.  Or better yet, get those big giant sacks and have one for each kid on the floor at his feet.  Upsides? No needles, no worrying about tree fires, no having to figure out how to get a real tree home, no watering the tree, and no worrying the kittens will climb the damn thing bringing it and all of our ornaments crashing down in a big 'ol mess.  I also think he'll become a great new tradition in our family that's unique.  The Hubs was on board right away and apparently so were Tamlin and Joanne since we now both have matching Santa's in our homes - so much for our unique tradition!  I know we haven't even gotten to Thanksgiving yet, but I'm not sure we could have hidden this guy until after Thanksgiving in our small house, so there he stands in the corner of our dining room.

The only downside we've found so far?  When we walk into the room it's always a little startling until we realize it's him.

Ho Ho Ho!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Professional Juggler

I just finished watching "I Don't Know How She Does It" and let me tell you, this is the story of my life.

Women everywhere walk the tight rope between work and home, of being a wife and mother of excelling at it all.  And I love this movie not just because she makes it work, but because things are crazy and hectic and sometimes she falls flat on her face.  Sometimes the dessert she brings to the bake sale is store bought.  Sometimes she's down to her last clean shirt and sometimes she goes to work with pancake batter on her.  She stays up late at night making lists in her head of all the things that need to get done, of all the doctor's appointments, play dates, birthday party gifts that still need purchased.  There is nothing perfect in this movie.  They're just a family struggling to find that balance and it's good when they do.  And it gives me hope because my life is just as hectic and crazy and wonderful when it all comes together.

If you haven't seen it, you should.  It's worth the time away from work, kids and lists.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Little Black Dress

I've been talking with my facebook friends a lot about the possibility of a girls night.  With dancing.  At a club.  No no, you keep laughing, let me know when you're done.

Done? Great.  Just because we're in our late 30s / early 40s does not mean we can't work it like a rock star.  Just look at Sex in the City, the whole point of that show was proving that life didn't end at 40, or after having kids, or surviving cancer.  Life has this funny way of continuing on and we can either let it bury us, or we can live it.  These days, more and more, I'm choosing to live it.  I'm doing this in several ways.  I started using the kids activity time, to listen to books on tape and walk for an hour killing two birds with one stone by getting my exercising and my book time in.  I also started going to the gym on Saturdays.  All those endorphins are helping me combat my extra busy schedule and keep me from feeling too run down.  Earlier this year, I picked my blog back up.  See, you're reading it now.  Having this creative outlet has really helped me keep my center, helped me connect with so many new people, and I can get advice from all of you about the pertinent things in my life.  Win/Win for me all the way around.  I even took up the NaNoWriMo challenge to try my hand at a novel.  These are all very me-centric activities that quite frankly, make me feel good.  So good in fact, it makes me want to go out dancing.  Something I haven't done in well, a very very long time.

And I will go dancing.  I don't know when, and I don't know with whom, but I do know that my last little black dress was a size 4 which is not the size I am now.  I'm not sure I'll ever be that tiny again.  So this might be an excuse to shop.  I do have some rules about what I want.  First of all, this is not a cocktail dress, it's a clubbing dress.  I want it to have some flair and be loose and easy to move in.  I'm married already, I am not looking for a man, but I do want to feel sexy but not like a hooker.  There's a fine line there people and so many people cross over without even realizing it. 2. I'm almost 40, so the hemline cannot end right under my crotch like you see most girls wearing these days.  I've given birth twice, no one wants to see that. Something mid to 3/4 of the way to the knee will be lovely thank you. 3. I am not an old maid - high cut and long sleeves are not going to cut it. And finally 4. I did mention I had two babies right?  That means I have curves, let's keep that in mind.

I did a little online shopping this morning and here's a few numbers I think will work just fine.

I love how fun and flirty this one is.  Covers all the important bits and would probably dress up nice with the right accessories.  Plus, perfect for club dancing or line dancing!

I love the sleek lines of this one.  Showing just enough skin but still covering all the important bits.  I feel like the lower part isn't as flowy as I would want, but the top would camoflauge my baby-having tummy while still showing my curves.

A little longer than I was thinking of, but look at that cute swishy hemline.  Love it!

And even though this one falls below the knee, I think it's my favorite.

What would your over 30 - almost 40 club dress look like?

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'll Protect You From The Big Bad Wolf

Just a little taste of part of my NaNoWriMo story.  Not perfect, no editing or revising yet, but I do like how this particular scene is coming along.

“What do you think of our alpha?” he asked.

I gave him a questioning look. “Alpha?”

“Liam Kincaid our Commander in Chief, Lord of our Domain and Alpha of our local werewolf pack.” He clarified irreverently.

“I’m not sure what to think,” I said honestly. “It’s not every day fantasy bleeds into reality.  I think I’m still processing." I hesitated, "But he seems okay.” I finished lamely.

He waited a beat before throwing his head back and giving one of those deep belly laughs when something is really funny. “Okay, she says.  You mean you weren’t won over immediately by his arrogant attitude and intimidation tactics?” His laugh was so infectious I started laughing too. I realized part of it was just left over tension and stress but it felt good to laugh.  To realize Brian at least, had an easy way about him that made all of this seem a little more comfortable and real.  It helped make them all seem a bit more normal – more human I acknowledged.  Liam walked in a few moments later frowning at the two of which only made us both laugh harder.

When we finally caught our breath Brian leaned across the desk and put a hand on my cheek, blatantly ignoring Liam.  It was an intimate gesture that forced me to look him once again in the eye.  “You come find me if you ever tire of our fearless leader’s ways.” When Liam audibly growled it startled me, but I couldn’t look away from Brian. “I’ll protect you from the big bad wolf.” He added and winked.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting, Birthdays & Candy

Today is voting day.  I voted a while back via mail in ballot and I can't tell you how relieved I am not to have to try to brave lines.  Consider yourself encouraged to vote, no matter who you're voting for.  Let your voice be heard and get educated and have an opinion.  In today's world, it seems like we don't have any control over the things that are important to us, whether that be jobs, health care, gas prices or whatever hits your hot buttons.  This is how you take control. By educating yourself about the issues and the people that will vote the way you would, if you were in their shoes.  I'm sure you've heard it before, if you don't vote you can't complain.  So do it.  Everyone should have the right to complain. - And this concludes the soap box portion of today's post.

Let's talk Birthdays.  Bug and Bunny have birthday's that are three days apart so we'll be throwing them their very first combined - friend invited - birthday party this year.   I've just paid a pretty hefty chunk of change to Jumpin' Jammin' - a huge indoor playground at one of our local malls - for their destination party.  I'm excited by the prospect of almost no set up, absolutely no clean-up and not having to clean any portion of my house to make it presentable to the masses.  I also think the kids will have a blast.  My only concern is people my not come.  Their birthdays are right around Thanksgiving - and so is mine as I share it with Bug.  This means lots of kids are travelling or adults have other plans with family.  I had lots of parties growing up where only one or two kids showed up, and I hope that's not the case with this first Tweedle party.  We're having it on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and hoping for the best, so wish them luck!

Let's talk Birthday Grab Bags.  You know, the bag you provide each kid who attends your child's party which contains candy and/or some cheap toys.  I'm going to do something radical at this party and not have them.  I think parents mostly find them annoying and the kids probably wouldn't miss them.  What about you? For or Against? Discuss.

Let's talk birthday costs.  Is it just me, or has the price of throwing a party for your kid gone a little insane?  For years with GG and LW I attended parties both destination and home grown and am shocked that kids parties these days run in the hundreds of dollars.  Destination parties alone are expensive, but we'll also have to provide our own cake/ice cream/ drinks and snacks and for 50 people or so - 25 kids / 25 parents - that starts to add up.  Even home parties between all the food, drinks and the inevitable bouncy house and pinata it just adds up to be an expensive endeavor.  Has it always been this way and I was just oblivious?  What do you think?

Lets talk Halloween candy.  Each of my kids got one piece the night of Halloween.  The next day I emptied their baskets into zip lock bags and put the bags on top of our fridge.  It's now six days after Halloween and neither one of them has asked for their candy.  I'm thinking of throwing it all out.  Does that make me the best or worst mom ever?

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Writers Cramp

I'm in to day two of NaNoWriMo and let me tell you, this is a lot harder than it looks.  I'm doing really well on my word count, but this experience has been enlightening in so many ways already.  For example, I'm apparently for the most part incapable of writing out of order. I wrote what I feel like is the ending of the story some time ago and I'm using that as the jumping board of the rest of the plot, but there's a lot to cover between the beginning and the end. And now that I've dove in head first to the story-line, I can't seem to break from it.  So when I get stuck with dialog that doesn't sound believable or I haven't been able to convince myself that my character has every right to get down right snippy with her co-star everything comes to a screaming halt until I work it out.

The NaNoWriMo people say over and over not to edit.  Editing is bad.  Edit in December, after your story is complete.  And several people I know who are participating in this craziness have joined in with how freeing it is to let go of your inner editor and just let the writing flow.  For me though, I feel like my story is incomplete with all of those disjointed parts that don't flow naturally together.  And I often find myself re-reading to figure out where my plot will go next.  Maybe if I'd had more time to plan this out instead of deciding to just "do this thing" three days before the event started.  Or had more than a half baked idea of what my story was even going to be about, I might be okay with just letting the writing flow.  Okay, probably not.  Too much of a control freak I guess.

Those same friends have offered up a few programs that help them in their writing flow and I thought I'd share them here for anyone who's interested.

This handy program lets you write your book in individual files or scenes that you can re-order and organize at a later date.

A lot like Scriviner but free.

Write or Die by Dr. Wicked
I love the concept of this if you're able to actually sit down and devote a set time to your writing.  This handy program forces you to write by providing consequences if you don't.  Some of the fun consequences include: disabling your backspace, a full-screen mode to cut out all other desktop distractions, disable save until word count goal is met, makes it so the program is always in front of any other programs, or a time limit.  While I'm not sure writing by punishment is the way to go for me, it sure does sound like a lot of fun.

But I think the very best part of this experience so far is writing more of this one story than I have ever written for any story ever.  I've just broken 10,000 words - so 1/5 of the way to my goal.  I do consider myself having cheated a bit in that count since I'm including the ending I wrote and posted here last Sunday in my word count, but that's only about 900 words, so I think I'm still doing really well.  And because this is a contest of sorts, I feel compelled to keep going - to keep working out where the story is going - than I would have otherwise.  I've written a lot of incomplete scenes but never tried to bring  story so completely to life like I am this time.  That, is freeing.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

November / Birthdays / NaNoWriMo

Tonight is Halloween and can I just say, whose bright idea was it to have it on a Wednesday?  I seriously think kid-centric holidays should always be on a Friday or Saturday.  Like Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday.  Give us poor parents a break!  Regardless, I'll be taking The Tweedles out to trick or treat in their Halloween finest and The Hubs - whose professor canceled class tonight so she could trick or treat with her own kids - will hopefully be joining us if the traffic gods allow.  We'll hit Mimi and Nanny's house and prowl Mimi's neighborhood before hopefully making it home before 8pm so the kids (and us parents) aren't too exhausted for school/work the next day.  Here's hoping.

And then, we'll be in November.  NOVEMBER.  Where the heck has this year gone?  I swear, it was just January a moment ago and now we're already hitting the Birthday Trifecta (Bug / Bunny / GG) and Christmas.  My bank account and I are overwhelmed.  Thankfully, thanks to some summer sale shopping for Bug and Bunny, they're pretty much set.  We're still working out what we'll get GG and LW for Christmas.  and GG is turning 18 which is a pretty big milestone.  We'll have to find something special for that since we won't be throwing a party.  The last few years has been pretty GG oriented.  Two years ago she had her Sweet 16 which was a full on backyard bash and last year she graduated so we saved our pennies for a big graduation blow-out.

This year, I've decided it's finally time for Bug and Bunny to have their first friends over birthday party for what will be their 5th and 7th birthdays respectively.  I've been shopping around trying to find something that not only won't blow the budget, but will be good for both boys and girls and the different age ranges.   I think I've settled on Jump 'n Jammin'  which is an indoor playground of sorts.  The kids can bounce, climb, jump, run, scream and generally be crazy for two whole hours with cake and pizza and when they're done, hopefully they'll all be so exhausted the parents will thank us for wearing them down.  The best part?  No set up or clean up for us.  It's win/win people!

November first is also the start of another adventure for me.  I'll be participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where my goal will be to write 50,000 words in 30 days  - that's 1,667 words a day for those of you keeping track - which amounts to a novel.  I admit that I'm not sure I'll reach my goal.  I have a pretty good idea of what I'll be writing and gave you all a snippit of it last Sunday, but I have no outline, no character build up or really any kind of organization.  Just an general idea of what the story-line might be.  I plan to wing it.  Yeah, I'm surprised too.  That's not generally my MO being the uber-planner that I am, but I'll jump into the deep end and see what swims to the surface with me.  Hopefully it won't end up being some idea sucking tentacled writer's block.  I hate tentacles.

The blog may suffer a bit while I try to meet this goal.  I might try to supplement my blog with more story snippits or complaints of why I put myself through these things or well, random nothingness just to let you know I'm still breathing over here so bear with me.  I promise to make it up with lots of fun in December.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Overheard Vol. 2

Bunny - "How do you know?"
Bug - "My brain is smart."
Yes it is my man.. yes it is.

GG - "I'm SO excited about your scarf!  Wanna feel it?"
She burst through the door of her room and was so random I just about died laughing.

Bunny - "Cookies! Cookies!  Would anyone like some fresh cookies?"
Bug - "I want a cookie."
Bunny - "We only have tomato-red velvet."
Bug - "Yummy!"
Tomato-red velvet, can you imagine?

Bug - "Everyone be quiet, this is my favorite song."
Bunny - "You don't even know the name of this song."
Bug - "I don't know the name, but I love this song!"
You gotta love his enthusiasm - and I love Cowboys and Angels too!

Bunny - "I would never talk to anyone who makes potions.  Unless it's in science class."

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Monday, October 29, 2012


Last week I took The Tweedles down to the costume store to pick out something for Halloween.  Yesterday I picked up some Halloween make-up to complete their costumes.  And because I'm not so good with make-up I felt the need to do a trial run last night before the big event on Wednesday.

I did Bug's Vampire make-up first.  He wiggled a lot, but it didn't come out too bad.

Bunny's she-devil make-up was a bit more complicated and she didn't like doing the parts around her eyes, but it came out okay I think.

Then I dressed them up and made them give me their scariest faces.

And they were pretty scary.  Even LW got into the mix.

But it was their happy photos that really did it for me.

Does Bug look like Eddie Munster to anyone else? Or is it just me?

Halloween, here we come!

Seriously.. Thoughts?